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Abnormal psychology is a division of psychology that studies people who are "abnormal" or "atypical" compared to the members of a given society. There is

evidence that some psychological disorders are more common than was previously thought. Depending on how data are gathered and how diagnoses are made, as many as 27% of some population groups may be suffering from depression at any one time (NIMH, 2001; data for older adults).


Background Of Study

Picture 1.1: Mental Disorders Problems

Public perceptions about psychopathology are strongly influenced by movies or the media. Information presented in the media can be sympathetic and enlightening, or it can perpetuate the stigma often associated with mental illness. This stigma limits opportunities for individuals with mental illnesses and often prevents them from seeking appropriate treatment.


Objective of Study

The main objective of this study mentioned as below;

To critically analyse and evaluate information pertaining to abnormal psychology found in the media.

To stimulate ideas on how to tackle issues related to public perceptions of mental health.



The classification of mental disorders, also known as psychiatricnosology or taxonomy, is a key aspect of psychiatry and other mental health professions and an important issue for people who may be diagnosed. There are currently two widely established systems for classifying mental disordersChapter V of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) produced by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Both list categories of disorders thought to be distinct types, and have deliberately converged their codes in recent revisions so that the manuals are often broadly comparable, although significant differences remain. Other classification schemes may be in use more locally, for example the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders. Other manuals have some limited use by those of alternative theoretical persuasions, such as the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual. The widely used DSM and ICD classifications employ operational definitions. There is a significant scientific debate about the relative validity of a "categorical" versus a "dimensional" system of classification, as well as significant controversy about the role of science and values in classification schemes and the professional, legal and social uses to which they are put.


International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10)

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is an international standard diagnostic classification for a wide variety of health conditions. Chapter V focuses on 4

"mental and behavioural disorders" and consists of 10 main groups: F0: Organic, including symptomatic, mental disorders F1: Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of psychoactive substances F2: Schizophrenia, schizotypal and delusional disorders F3: Mood [affective] disorders F4: Neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders F5: Behavioural syndromes associated with physiological disturbances and physical factors F6: Disorders of personality and behaviour in adult persons F7: Mental retardation F8: Disorders of psychological development F9: Behavioural and emotional disorders with onset usually occurring in childhood and adolescence In addition, a group of "unspecified mental disorders".

Within each group there are more specific subcategories. The ICD includes personality disorders on the same domain as other mental disorders, unlike the DSM. The ICD-10 states that mental disorder is "not an exact term", although is generally used " imply the existence of a clinically recognisable set of symptoms or behaviours associated in most cases with distress and with interference with personal functions." (WHO, 1992). The WHO is revising their classifications in this section as part of the development of the ICD-11 (scheduled for 2014) and an "International Advisory Group" has been established to guide this.


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)

The DSM-IV, produced by the American Psychiatric Association, characterizes 5

mental disorder as "a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual, associated with present distress...or disability...or with a significant increased risk of suffering" but that " definition adequately specifies precise boundaries for the concept of 'mental disorder'...different situations call for different definitions" (APA, 1994 and 2000). The DSM also states that "there is no assumption that each category of mental disorder is a completely discrete entity with absolute boundaries dividing it from other mental disorders or from no mental disorder." The DSM-IV-TR (Text Revision, 2000) consists of five axes (domains) on which disorder can be assessed. The five axes are: Axis I: Clinical Disorders (all mental disorders except Personality Disorders and Mental Retardation) Axis II: Personality Disorders and Mental Retardation Axis III: General Medical Conditions (must be connected to a Mental Disorder) Axis IV: Psychosocial and Environmental Problems (for example limited social support network) Axis V: Global Assessment of Functioning (Psychological, social and jobrelated functions are evaluated on a continuum between mental health and extreme mental disorder)



Television, radio and newspapers play an essential role in the public perception of mental illness. While the media often perpetuate unhelpful stereotypes of mental illness (Byrne, 1997), if properly harnessed, they may also be used to challenge prejudice, inform and initiate debate and so help to combat the stigma experienced by people with mental illness and their carers. Many films have portrayed mental illnesses or used it as a backdrop for other themes. For example, although 50 First Dates presents a case of anterograde amnesia, the type depicted does not really exist. In particular, owing to the nature of drama, extreme and florid manifestations of any given disorder tend to prevail over the more subtle ones typical of the average person with that disorder. For example, people with agoraphobia are typically portrayed in drama as recluses who never or almost never leave their homes; in reality, this is rare and extreme, not typical, among the agoraphobic population.

Picture 3.1: Movie I am Sam. A man who suffers from schizophrenia goes on a shooting spree in Times Square and later stabs a pregnant physician in the stomach. These are the opening scenes from Wonderland, a drama set in the psychiatric and emergency room units of a New York City hospital. Premiering in 2000, Wonderland was promptly canceled because of dwindling ratings and heavy criticism from mental health groups (though it was brought back in January 2009).

The series portrayed a bleak life for people with mental illness and groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) criticized its theme of hopelessness. Research has shown that many people get their information about mental illness from the mass media (Wahl, 2004). What they do see can color their perspective, leading them to fear, avoid and discriminate against individuals with mental illness.


People Perceptions on mental illness based on media

Whether its a film, news program, newspaper or TV show, the media perpetuates many myths about mental illness. Below is just a sampling of common misconceptions: People with mental illness are violent.

Studies have found that dangerousness/crime is the most common theme of stories on mental illness, said Cheryl K. Olson, Sc.D., co-director of the Center for Mental Health and Media at Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry. But research suggests that mentally ill people are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence. Also, recent research found that mental illness alone doesnt predict violent behavior (Elbogen & Johnson, 2009). Other variablesincluding substance abuse, history of violence, demographic variables (e.g., sex, age) and the presence of stressors (e.g., unemployment)also play a role. Theyre unpredictable.

A focus group composed of individuals who affect the lives of people with mental illness, such as insurance executives, was asked what they thought about people with mental illness. Nearly half cited unpredictability as a big concern. They feared that individuals might go berserk and attack someone. Contrary to these beliefs, the vast majority of people with mental illness are ordinary individuals who go to work and try to enjoy their lives, said Otto Wahl, Ph.D, professor of psychology at University of Hartford and author of Media Madness: Public Images of Mental Illness.

They dont get better.

Even when portrayals are primarily positive, we rarely see progress. For instance, the lead character in Monk, who has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), regularly attends therapy, but has yet to improve, Wahl said. He believes this perpetuates the myth that treatment is ineffective. Still, if youre seeing a therapist and havent experienced much improvement, you might feel the same way. However, this may mean that its time to switch therapists. When searching for a therapist, remember its best to shop around. Heres a good guide that can help with the process. You also may want to research the most effective treatments for your condition and check if your prospective therapist uses them. Teens with mental illness are just going through a phase.

Movies like the Heathers and the American Pie series depict alcohol and substance abuse, depression and impulsivity as normal teen behavior, according to Butler and Hyler (2005). The authors also point out that the movie Thirteen features substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, an eating disorder and self-injury, but the main character never seeks treatment. Ultimately, these behaviors may be viewed as a glamorous benchmark to beat.

These myths dont just damage public perceptions; they also affect people with mental illness. In fact, the fear of stigma can prevent individuals from seeking treatment. One study even found that workers would rather say they committed a petty crime and spent time in jail than disclose that they stayed at a psychiatric hospital.


Negative and Positive Impact of Media

For better or worse, the media shapes our ideas and ways in which we understand those around us. For those suffering from mental illnesses, the implications of the often negative and inaccurate portrayals of mental health issues are significant. Inaccurate information in the media about mental illness, even if the portrayal of an

individual is positive, results in misunderstandings that can have considerable and very real consequences. As conclusion, media overall can give a negative or positive impact based on how they address the matters. Below show hoe the media influence the perception of people about mental disorders. Reporting that can have a negative impact: Highlights tragedies involving untreated mental illness, contributing to community fear and isolation for those affected by mental illness Does not provide balance. People with a mental illness are not inherently violent, unable to work, unpredictable, untrustworthy, weak or unable to get well Exaggerates a persons illness or the affect mental illness has on their behaviour Implies all mental illnesses are the same. The term mental illness covers a wide range of symptoms, conditions, and effects on peoples lives Features negative terms such as mental patient, nutter, lunatic, psycho, schizo and mental institution, which stigmatise mental illness and perpetuate discrimination. Reporting that can have a positive impact: Breaks down myths about mental illness and allows people who have experienced mental illness to tell their own stories Highlights the complexity of mental illness. The term mental illness covers a wide range of symptoms, conditions, and effects on peoples lives Provides accurate information about mental illness and specific mental disorders.




The mass medias power to impact public perception and the degree to which people are exposed to media representations makes the mass media one of the most significant influences in developed societies. For better or worse, the media shapes our ideas and ways in which we understand those around us. For those suffering from mental illnesses, the implications of the often negative and inaccurate portrayals of mental health issues are significant. Inaccurate information in the media about mental illness, even if the portrayal of an individual is positive, results in misunderstandings that can have considerable and very real consequences. 4.1 Literature review 1

Considerable research has concluded that the media are the publics most significant source of information about mental illness (Coverdale et al., 2002 [citing Borinstein, 1992; Kalafatelis & Dowden, 1997; Philo, 1994]). Fiske (1987, cited in Rose, 1998) argues that television is the most powerful medium for framing public consciousness. Cutcliffe and Hannigan (2001) further state that rarely does a week go by without a reference to mental illness in the mass media. One study found that media representations of mental illness are so powerful that they can override peoples own personal experiences in relation to how they view mental illness (Philo, 1996, cited in Rose, 1998). On television and in film, as well as in news reporting, there is an emphasis on people with mental illness as other or separate from the general fabric of society. They are often portrayed as unemployed, homeless, and without family or friends, roots or history. Representing people with mental illness in this onedimensional light supports a depiction of such individuals as somehow subhuman or unworthy. Words have power. They have the power to hurt or soothe, to honour or insult, to inform or misinform. Words reflect and shape prevailing attitudes, attitudes that in turn shape social behaviour. All too often, the media use sensational language that tends to perpetuate myths and stereotypes regarding mental illness, promote fear in the community and promote incorrect assumptions. Provocative mainstream newspaper headlines such as Terror, mentally ill threaten Games


(Headline, Toronto Sun, 5 November, 2008 (Toronto)), 32 OTTAWALIFE FEBRUARY 2009 and Knife maniac freed to kill. Mental patient ran amok in the park. (Front page headline, Daily Mail, 26 February, 2005 (England)), and Violent, mad. So Docs set him free. New Community Care scandal. (The Sun, 26 February, 2005 (England)) transforms a health issue into a public safety issue and capitalizes on the fear of violence and irrationality that lack of understanding about mental illness can cause. Persons identified as mentally-ill are all too often portrayed by the media as the secular version of the devil, transmogrified into the out-of-control madman bent on a rampage of seemingly inexplicable death and destruction. 4.2 Literature Review 2.

Yet while there has been considerable research and analysis of media content of mental health coverage, there has been relatively little concrete research into the effects: how media messages are received and interpreted, alongside other potential sources of evidence and experience in daily life. While the most comprehensive review of research in this area, commissioned by Shift, appears to confirm the view that negative media coverage may reinforce fears that mental health users pose a public risk, and positive images might have an opposite effect, the evidence is limited (Rose et al, 2007). As far as the UK is concerned, it mainly rests on the study conducted by Philo and the Glasgow Media Group which was unusual in that it combined an analysis of media production processes, content analysis and focus group research into effects (Philo et al 1994; Philo, 1996). The Phil et al research is around 15 years old, and there is now a need to analyse media effects in the context of both rapid changes in media structure and output, and shifting political and policy terrains. Furthermore, the Glasgow Media Group research followed its distinctive theoretical approach which arguably needs to be scrutinized in the light of recent shifts in social theory, analysis and research methods. The current exploratory qualitative research which we report on here therefore sought to fill this evidence gap on media effects, the core of which is intensive focus group research in 9 English regions. We assess the impact of negative and positive media stories and other output on audiences, compared to other influences in their lives, in order to provide evidence to inform best journalist practice, committed to positive social change for people with mental health problems. Further details of the research 12

methods are given at appendix one. This research was commissioned by SHIFT, the agency charged by the NHS with addressing stigma and discrimination in mental health in England. Among the kinds of issues which they wished to see addressed were: What media content on mental health issues audiences are aware of, which they trust and its impact upon them in terms of shaping their attitudes and behaviour; Audiences perceptions of risk to themselves, members of the public and people with mental health problems and its links to media or other sources of information; The relative influence of audience experience of being in contact people with mental health problems, and their views on discrimination in general and in relation to people with mental health problems; The relation between audience attitudes to discrimination in terms of different forms of information used by them, as well as which kinds of media content can help to change attitudes in positive directions. 4.3 Literarature Review 3

The dominant tendency in media theory has therefore tended to shift away from a stronger to a weaker structuralism, that still portrays the media as powerful, but also subject to active negotiation by audiences. This theoretical shift has been linked to changes in the media themselves, on the one hand to greater concentration of ownership, and on the other to a more fragmented and differentiated set of media sources, such as the internet, U-tube and blogging, that have led to suggestions of a greater pluralism. Thus Thompson (1995), drawing on Giddenss (1991) theory of the self in late modernity, argues that audiences do not passively receive but actively select and interpret, re-interpret, resist or even challenge media messages, depending on their education, age, class, gender, race and other identities and experiences. However postmodern analyses often go further, according the media a central role in producing, not just reproducing modern society, helping to fragment and destabilize traditional forms of identity and values. Whereas moral panic theory legitimately in 13

our view makes a distinction between what is real and what represented, postmodern approaches tend not to make such hard and fast distinctions, suggesting that media signs and discourses do not, according to Baudrillard (1998) necessarily have any real referents. 4.4 Literature Review 4

A report by Mind, a U.K. mental healthy charity, asserts that negative media coverage has a direct and harmful impact on the lives of people with mental illness. Mind surveyed 515 people suffering from a range of disorders about their feelings regarding media coverage of mental illness. Half of the respondents said that the media coverage had a negative effect on their own mental health, and 34% said this led directly to an increase in their depression and anxiety. A total of 22% of the participants said they felt more withdrawn and isolated as a result of negative media coverage, and 8% said that such press coverage made them feel suicidal. Almost 25% of respondents said that they noticed hostile behaviour from their neighbours due to negative newspaper and television reports. A further 11% said they required additional support from mental health services due to negative press coverage, and almost 25% of all respondents said that they had changed their minds about applying for jobs or volunteer positions due to negative media coverage.




We need, as a society, to continue to strive to reduce and eliminate the stigma and discrimination that so many with mental illness experience in their day-to-day lives. Let's face itpeople can and do recover from mental illness if provided with the supports and services necessary to facilitate and nurture a sense of hope, wellness and a belief that tomorrow will be better than today. 5.1 Anti-stigma campaigns Campaigns targeted at the general population, intended to counter negative stereotypes and attitudes towards people with mental health problems. There are few rigorous evaluations exist: qualitative evidence suggests they may have an effect but these are usually based on cross-sectional data rather than longitudinal data over time.

5.2 Tackling discrimination in the labour market Improved understanding of mental health issues is critical in companies and among co-workers if efforts to reintegrate people with mental health problems into the workforce are to be successful; there can be strong opposition to working alongside people with mental health problems. Employment has many benefits including a reduced need for health care services, increased levels of social inclusion and improved quality of life.

5.3 Improving access to services that best meet needs People with mental health problems can also be empowered to have more control over their services that best meet their needs. Attention is beginning to focus on the use of direct payments where individuals are given cash to purchase services and support that they require, including help in vocational rehabilitation. The system has however only been introduced in a few countries including England, Scotland and the Netherlands for a few service users making it too early for formal evaluation.


5.4 Anti discriminatory legislation There is also a role to be played by legislation, although to date its impact has not been well evaluated. Legislative instruments from the UN, the Council of Europe, the EU and others are intended to protect the human rights of people with mental health problems. They can only promote social inclusion however if effectively monitored with adequate sanctions where required to effect change.



Words have power. They have the power to hurt or soothe, to honour or insult, to inform or misinform. Words reflect and shape prevailing attitudes, attitudes that in turn shape social behaviour. All too often, the media use sensational language that tends to perpetuate myths and stereotypes regarding mental illness, promote fear in the community and promote incorrect assumptions. For better or worse, the media shapes our ideas and ways in which we understand those around us. For those suffering from mental illnesses, the implications of the often negative and inaccurate portrayals of mental health issues are significant. Inaccurate information in the media about mental illness, even if the portrayal of an individual is positive, results in misunderstandings that can have considerable and very real consequences. By doing some necessary action, we as normal human being can help those mental illness patient to reduce their burden and stigma.


7.0 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.



8.0 8.1

APPENDIX Local Report In Newspaper



Research in Other Countries

In 1997, the National Mental Health Association in the United States published a study titled "Stigma Matters: Assessing the Medias Impact on Public Perceptions of Mental Illness." Hottentot (2000) cites the following results from that study, showing where within various media classifications the researchers found that the public gathers its information about mentally ill people and about mental illness.
Popular Sources of Information about Mental Illness TV newsmagazine shows Newspapers TV news News magazines TV talk shows Radio news Other magazines Internet Non-fiction books Talk shows on radio Womens magazines 70% 58% 51% 34% 31% 26% 26% 25% 25% 18% 18%